"Energy" is a quick and easy term to use on the fly to talk about some of the things we experience as magicians, but it just drives me nuts. It's sloppy, inaccurate, and leads to erroneous conclusions. I hate the term "energy."
Am I a semantic nazi about this? Jason and Fr. POS used the term recently on their blogs. I know Jason uses it in his book, too. I even use it on occasion, but only when I'm being lazy. Today on Augoeides, it got mentioned yet again.
Let me explain what I mean, and you can decide if I'm just being a dick about this.
First, here's the definition of Energy from Wikipedia:
In physics, energy (from the Greek ἐνέργεια - energeia, "activity, operation", from ἐνεργός - energos, "active, working") is a scalar physical quantity that describes the amount of work that can be performed by a force, an attribute of objects and systems that is subject to a conservation law. Different forms of energy include kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound, light, elastic, and electromagnetic energy. The forms of energy are often named after a related force."But RO," you may say, "that's Energy in physics, not Energy in metaphysics! I'm not talking about that."
Any form of energy can be transformed into another form, but the total energy always remains the same. This principle, the conservation of energy, was first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. According to Noether's theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time.
Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, its value may depend on the frame of reference. For example, a seated passenger in a moving airplane has zero kinetic energy relative to the airplane, but non-zero kinetic energy relative to the Earth.
Yeah, I know. That's my point. The idea of energy as it gets used in metaphysical discussions is based on a misunderstanding of what energy is in physics.
It's a measure of potential work or force. It's like volume, or length, or depth. It's a quality of an equation. It's not real until it acts, and when it acts, it becomes a force, or power. Would you say you were "raising depth" or "raising volume" when you did something magical? Of course not.
In metaphysics, people talk about energy flowing. Energy doesn't flow, it is transferred by becoming a force. They talk about it as if it were an invisible astral liquid that somehow powers things, in a way, like electricity, sorta, but without any measurable particles moving. But electricity is the movement of electrons, it is work being performed. What is moving in trance states? No one knows. Calling it "energy" works, but it doesn't really say anything about anything.
If you can create a force, the energy was already there, you just hadn't done the math. If you're talking about the exchange of energy between two interacting systems, you're talking about power and force. Energy only "exists" on paper, it's a measurement, a pattern that is useful for predicting results.
And that's my biggest beef with the use of the term Energy in magical operations. It implies that there is somehow less or more available to you after you've done something magical. It simply isn't true. You have the same amount of "energy" to tap into and channel wherever you go. It is neither created nor destroyed, it simply changes form. Trance states of consciousness may aid in the ability to turn that energy into a power or force that can be felt and experienced, but it doesn't add to or take away from the resting amount of potential Work that can be performed.
Personally, I advocate the use of "power" or "force," or especially "current." Like for the Druid that POS mentioned, when he says he raised Telluric Energy from the Earth, I'd say he channeled the telluric current from the Earth to whatever he aimed it at. When POS talks about raising energy by entering ecstatic states, I'd say he was altering his awareness so that he could consciously channel the forces harmonious to the type of ecstatic state he is entering. (Although grimoire magic ritual is not ecstatic, I don't care what he says.) When Jason says he mixes blue and white energy at a ratio of 80-20%, I'd say he ...
Well, honestly, I have no clue how I'd say that. Is he just thinking blue and white thoughts while he holds his hands over someone? Is he visualizing a force generated in his throat and crown mingling proportionally and then extending through his palms?
Still, he's activating a power, or channeling a current, or directing a force. The Energy to do so is everywhere, everywhen, but his magical activation and utilization of that energy is what matters (or what affects matter, anyway). There's got to be a better way to say it.*
*I just told my wife what I was writing about and she called me an "Energy-Power Snob." Jason totally called me a dick too. Maybe I am a vocabulary czar about this. Maybe I am the premier of patois. Maybe I am the Imperator of Idiom, or the Emperor of Elocution.
Maybe I am a dick about it.
Fine, then. I mean, I don't care, be sloppy, use the word wrong. I won't keep going on about it anymore. You can misrepresent a concept with the wrong symbol. I'll just sit here and watch the disharmonic resonance spread through your sphere, and I won't say a word, oh no, I'll just sit here not being a Sultan of Semantics, and your whole entire approach to manipulating reality using magic can be fundamentally flawed because you use the word wrong for all I care. Spend yet another incarnation missing out on Enlightenment by || this much, all because you use "Energy" wrong, I mean, really, it's your life and your choice of symbol sets, and the universe has plenty of room for everything, and you can relax, I won't be writing long-winded over-adjectived hyperbolic threats of eternal damnation because using "Energy" the way you do is REALLY the unpardonable sin that even Christ's blood can't atone for or anything like that here on this blog.**
** Honest. No, REALLY. I won't even mention that spiders will eat your brains if you use "Energy" wrong. Won't breathe a whisper about how everyone who ever died of cancer also happened to use the word wrong. Nope. I'm not going to tell you about the Illuminati cabal that powers their curses using the forces released when people use the word "Energy" wrong in metaphysical discussions, either, because you probably wouldn't believe it. There's little point in any such revelations coming into your sphere, since it's all twisted and warped because you used it wrong. So I won't bother.***
*** But don't come crawling to me when you're dead by dawn.